Leave it to a Buckeye fan to start talking about next year in the middle of the season, and for that matter, a winning streak.
It's hard not to think about the potential of the 2012 squad. The 2011 defense is once again amongst the nation's best, but next year's D could potentially return 10 starters. They could also get back WDE Nathan Williams if the Senior is granted a medical redshirt.
Depth Charts are merely speculation at this point – so let's speculate:)
#returning starter ^returning letterman
DEFENSE! (returning starters 10/11 + possible return of Nathan Williams)
1.John Simon 6'2″ 273#^
2a.Melvin Fellows 6'5″ 270
2b.J.T. Moore 6'2″ 255^
3.Steve Miller 6'4″ 250
John Simon is well on his way to All-Big-Ten honors this season. He had 10 tackles against Indiana, and has 12 tackles for loss(6 sacks) this season. Fellows is coming off of knee trouble, and J.T. Moore has proven to be a solid back-up.
1.Johnathan Hankins 6'3″ 335#^
(1a.John Simon will also shift inside on occasion – and Hankins can shift outside as well – although I doubt we will see as much of that next season)
2.Garret Goebel 6'3″ 288^
3.Joel Hale 6'4″ 305^
Johnathan Hankins is extremely agile for his size. He has even shifted outside and played some defensive-end the last two weeks.
1.Adam Bellamy 6'4″ 310#^
2.Michael Bennett 6'3″ 285^
3.Darryl Baldwin 6'4″ 290^
4.Chase Farris 6'6″ 265
Hankins, Bellamy, and Bennett will be amongst the best DT's in all the conference, but it is the depth that will make this one of the best interior units in the country.
1.Nathan WIlliams 6'3″ 255#^(pending MRS)
2a.Darryl Baldwin 6'4″ 290^
2b.J.T. Moore 6'2″ 255^
1.Etienne Sabino 6'3″ 242#^
2.Curtis Grant 6'3″ 225^
3.Chad Hagan 6' 227^
4.Josh Perry 6'3″ 245(pending sign)
Curtis Grant is already knocking on the doorstep, but Luke Fickell is keeping the youngster under wraps until next season. There is a slight chance that Sabino could lose his starting spot, but i refrained from listing them as 1a and 1b.
1.Storm Klein 6'2″ 240#^
2a.Jordan Whiting 6'1″ 240^
2b.Curtis Grant 6'3″ 225^
In my opinion, Storm Klein has been Ohio State's most effective LB this season. He has a nose for the football, and his size and speed help him hold-up against the toughest of competition.
1.Ryan Shazier 6'2″ 215^
2a.Conner Crowell 6'1″ 220
2b.Chad Hagan 6'227
3.Scott McVey 6' 225
(I also think there's a chance we may see David Durham move back to Lb and get in this mix)
Ryan Shazier is a budding superstar. He reminds me of a young Lavonte David of Nebraska, and that spells trouble for opposing offenses. Shazier's huge blocked-punt against Wisconsin would have been the play of the game had Braxton not hit Evan Spencer for a 40-yard bomb with 25 seconds left o n the clock.
1.Travis Howard 6'1″ 190#^
2.Dominic Clarke 5'10″ 190#^
3.Corey(Gateway) Brown 6'2″ 190^
4.Derjuan Gambrell 6'2″ 180
It was hard to tell who was going to hold this spot early in the season when Dominic Clarke played lights-out early. Travis Howard won back the spot in week 4 and has an interception in each of the last two games. Ohio State will feature 3 lock-down corners in 2012 with Roby, Howard, and Clarke. For that matter, the entire defensive backfield is shaping of as one of the Nations best.
1.Bradley Roby 5'11″ 185#^
2.Dominic Clarke 5'10″ 190#^
3a.Doran Grant 5'11″ 185
3b.Donnie Evege 5'11″ 180(pending MRS)
1.Doran Grant 5'11″ 185
2a.Jamie Wood 6' 200^
2b.Orhian Johnson 6'2″ 205#^
2c.Zach Domicone 6'3″ 215#^
2d.Chad Hagan 6' 227^
3.Scott Mcvey 6' 225
The Star position will be up for grabs with the exodus of Senior Tyler Moeller. Doran Grant isn't the biggest candidate, but he may prove too good of an athlete to keep on the sidelines. Zach Domicone is a wild-card here. Domicone will be a hungry senior who has busted his chops on special teams – quite succesfully I might add.
2a.Orhian Johnson 6'2″ 205#^
2b.Jamie Wood 6'200^
1.Christian Bryant 5'10″ 190#^
2.Zach Domicone 6'3″ 215^
3.Ron Tanner 6'2″ 190
OFFENSE! (returning starters 7/11)
1.Braxton Miller 6'2″ 215#^
2.Kenny Guiton 6'2″ 195^
3.Taylor Graham 6'4″ 230
4.Cardale Jones 6'5″ 220(pending sign)
Cardale Jones arrives after one season at Fork Union Military Academy. Kenny Guiton will have a solid hold on the back-up spot to start the season.
1.Carlos Hyde 6' 240^
2.Jordan Hall 5'9″ 200#^
3a.Jamaal Berry(note:could transfer OR be dismissed from team)
3b.Broderick Smith 6'3″ 235
4.Brionte' Dunn 6'2″ 220(pending sign – and with all the riches – I wouldn't count on it just yet)
5.Warren Ball 6'2″ 200(pending sign)
The tailback spot will open with graduation of Boom Herron. Those will be some big cleats to fill, but OSU has a stable of fine running backs. I handicap the return of Jamaal Berry at 50/50. He may transfer due to a lack of playing time - if his off-the-field troubles don't catch up to him first. Brionte Dunn is a stud that could be in the mix early, but may also flounder on his commitment due to depth at the position. Hopefully, Dunn will sign because he is a legitimate threat to earn the starting job.
1.Zach Boren 6' 255#^
2.Adam Homan 6'4″ 248^
3.David Durham 6'3″ 240
Thank the man above for one more year of the road-grater. Boren's return is a huge boost for the rebuilding OL.
WR(listing all wr's together – I probably should have done the same for safeties and corners, but too late now)
1.Corey(philly) Brown 6'1″ 190#^
2.Devin Smith 6'3″ 200#^
3a.Evan Spencer 6'2″ 190^
3b.Verlon Reed 6'3″ 215#^(coming back from ACL)
3c.Chris Fields 5'11″ 185#^
4.Ty Williams 6'5″ 230
5.Roger Lewis 6'1″ 195(pending sign)
6.Michael Thomas 6'4″ 205(pending sign)
7.Frank Epitropoulos 6'3″ 190(penidng sign)
Devier Posey will be lost to graduation, but his absence through the first 10 games has given the other receivers needed experience. Look out for Roger Lewis. Lewis has flown under the radar during recruiting, but he has all the intangibles to become a solid receiver. He could end up as the 6th receiver next season.
1.Jake Stoneburner 6'6″ 255#^
2.Reid Fragel 6'8″ 270^
3.Jeff Heuerman 6'4″ 240
One more year of Stoneburner – provided he doesn't leave for the NFL(he is one of the few players that could leave and be drafted). Simon and Boren are the other two candidates for early departure, but my money is on all three staying for their senior campaign. Jeff Heuerman looks like the real deal.
1.Andrew Norwell#^(will have had 5 starts at LT and 7/8 at LG in '11)
2.Jack Mewhort 6'6″ 305#^
3.Antonio Underwood 6'3″ 305^
4.Marcus Hall 6'5″ 315^
1.Jack Mewhort 6'6″ 305#^
2.Corey Linsley 6'2″ 310^
3a.Tommy Brown 6'5″ 325
3b.Ivon Blackman6'3″ 320
1a.Brian Bobek 6'2″ 280
1b.Corey Linsley 6'2″ 310^
2.Jack Mewhort 6'6″ 305#^
3.Ben St. John 6'2″ 295
1.Corey Linsley 6'2″ 310^
2a.Ivon Blackman 6'3″ 320
2b.Chris Carter 6'6″ 350
2c.Tommy Brown 6'5″ 325
3.Jacoby Boren 6'2″ 275(pending sign)
1a.Marcus Hall 6'5″ 315^
1b.Antonio Underwood 6'3″ 305
Norwell's experience at LT will help, but the line will feel the losses of Shugarts, Adams, and Brewster. There is no doubt that the remaining 4 or 5 spots in the 2012 class need to feature 2 or 3 top notch offensive lineman. Keep a close eye on recruiting over the next couple of months. Ohio State would greatly benefit from a 4 or 5 star OL recruit that can contribute right away.
We could see Linsley at center with Blackmon at guard, or Bobek at center with Linsley at guard. Antonio Underwood looked solid in replacement of the injured J.B. Shugarts against Indiana, but it's hard to say how he would have held up against stiffer competition.
SPECIAL TEAMS(returning starters 3/3)
1.George Makridis 6'2″ 230#^
2.Bryce Haynes 6'4″ 190
1.Drew Basil 6'3″ 225#^
2.Ben Buchanan 6' 180
1.Ben Buchanan 6' 180#^
Expect great things from a special teams unit that returns everyone – including all the returnmen.